The Loss In Indy: It’s Not Hard To Believe and It’s Not The End of The World.

Featured, Sports and Bets — October 6, 2014 at 7:15 pm by

Road games in the NFL are hard to win. They are damn near impossible to win when you  turn the ball over three times. The Colts completely dominated the Ravens yesterday, yet Baltimore had a chance to tie the game on the last drive of the contest with a touchdown. It was not to be though, as Joe Flacco and Torrey Smith couldn’t hook up on a deep ball down the sideline in one-on-one coverage.

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Where to start with this mess. The Ravens played like dogshit, that’s probably the best place to start. You could see it coming from a mile away, as they were on a three game win streak; with a big win at home last week, the Ravens were due for a letdown. It’s a real fucking shame they did it against a conference foe that will now hold a tiebreaker over their heads come playoff time.
It starts and ends with turnovers. That’s the story of this league. If you win the turnover battle, you will more than likely win the game. The Ravens turned the ball over three times yesterday, to go along with allowing four sacks, and they somehow won the turnover battle! Our defense, which played pretty well yesterday, managed to force four turnovers.
It’s not often that I criticize this coaching staff, and particularly John Harbaugh, but going for that fourth down in the first half was a boneheaded play. You’re down on the road by less than a touchdown, you take the points. I could not believe it when they lined up to run a play on a long fourth and one. Then the Ravens got cute by sending extra lineman Jah Reid out in the flat as the short receiver. The line to gain was too far for the defense to really have to sell out for the run. That play works when the defense sells out for the run and commits blindly. With such a long yard to gain, the play call was predictable. Take the points coach, especially on the road. Our defense was playing well, and they were keeping Luck in check. I can see the decision if Luck were walking the Colts up and down the field, but that wasn’t happening. A 12 play, 82 yard drive yielded us nothing.
Another qualm I have with the game plan is with Coach Kubiak only running the ball 15 times. They gained 90 yards on those 15 runs, which is 6.0 yards per carry. The Ravens were never out of the game, so there is no excuse for abandoning the run like that. Never mind the fact that the Colts’ run defense stinks. Rushing the football also helps keep Andrew Luck off the field. A game plan that involves a heavy dose of the running game, from three healthy backs, makes a hell of a lot more sense to me then a pass heavy attack in a hostile environment. Especially with an undrafted rookie left tackle making his second start. Playing left tackle on the road, in a noisy atmosphere, may be tougher in sports than trying to hit an Andrew Miller slider from the left side of the plate. It ain’t easy Babes, so you need to help the guy out by establishing a run game. Hurst made Bjoren Werner look like Robert Mathis.

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I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again- Torrey Smith does not deserve a big money contract. I don’t think he should even get Eric Decker money. Smith is a one trick pony that too often disappears in games. Don’t get me wrong, I love him and hope he stays in Baltimore, but he is not a big time player. A big time player makes that fourth down play when the game is on the line. Just look at what Dez Bryant did in overtime in Dallas yesterday to see a big time receiver.

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Another offensive observation: on a third and seven late in the third quarter, Joe Flacco recognized an all out blitz coming during pre-snap. He adjusted the play, but stays under center to take the snap. I couldn’t believe my eyes, you recognize the blitz, but don’t put yourself in shotgun? It’s a hundred times easier to get rid of the ball accurately from the gun when a blitz is bearing down. Under center, Joe had to scurry back on his three step drop, and blindly heave a pass off of his back foot. The Colts blitzed the hell out of Flacco and it worked. The Ravens finished 1-11 on third down.

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Defensively you can’t fault that effort. As I mentioned they took the ball away four times, twice picking off Luck. They gave up yards, but clamped down when they needed to.
I was extremely impressed with CJ Mosley. He made two excellent plays on screen passes where he was all alone out in space. On one occasion he defeated the lineman’s block and made the unassisted tackle, and on the other he defeated the block and held up the runner long enough for the pursuit to clean it up. In both cases Mosley played it perfectly. He does still, however, get caught looking into the backfield in pass coverage. He was responsible for Dwayne Allen on that red zone touchdown, as he was well behind Allen trying to cover the delayed shallow cross. He did however make up for it later by snagging an interception off a deflection.
Matt Elam made a big time play, causing that fumble that gave the Ravens hope at the end of the game. The Colts were milking the clock, and about to kick a field goal that would have put them up two scores- Elam ripped the ball out of the ball carrier’s hands to give the Ravens life.
Even though the Ravens saw Andrew Luck drop back to pass fifty times, they only managed one sack. I was not pleased to see tight end Jack Doyle handle Terrell Suggs one-on-one in pass protection. That is a slap in the face to have a tight end assigned to an outside linebacker one-on-one, and Suggs didn’t make the Colts pay.

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At the end if the day, this loss is not the end of the world. You hope to split your road games anyway en route to a playoff birth. That’s a formula that usually gets the job done- 4-4 on the road, and 8-0 or 7-1 at home ,and you will most often win your division. The Ravens have to regroup and travel to take on an up and down Tampa team who just gave New Orleans everything they could handle in the Superdome. The offense needs to get their shit together.

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